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Feature: Are We Overly Social?

Aristotle once said, “Man is by nature a social animal; an unsocial individual naturally and not accidentally is beneath our notice or more than human.” 

In the prior years of American sociology, socialization is associated with civilization. If we think about the social world at the time, we live in its more virtual reality than reality out there. As we as humans modernized, we shifted towards the changes for betterment. 

One of those revolutionary changes was a virtual social world. While many of us have a different answer when it comes to who started this virtual way to get social, a website called SixDegrees.com in 1997 allowed users to create profiles, make a connection, and send messages. Since this first encounter, we have seen many changes in this virtual social world. Back in 2010, when social media was still in its growing phase, only about 10% percent of users in the United States were involved in social media. In the next 11 years, that number grew to about 72%. 

While social media is a blessing in many ways, one of the questions often arises are we driving social media, or is social media driving us?

While there is no deniability of the advantage of social media, there is a side that we tend to ignore or are unaware of. If we think more about social media, we can diverge it based on necessitating, infatuation, and connection. If one observes closely, the advances in information technology have culminated into an ever-present force that we call social media. We are all assuredly amicable with it. It has become a ubiquitous ingredient of day-to-day life for many of us: we continuingly scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, keeping ourselves updated on our peers and influencers and their lives.

Surprisingly the transfer of information between humans has been modernizing never before seen in human history. The pace at which we are uncovering the notions of a cooperative society, in the form of social media, keeps rising. 

The connotation of this is that societal moral codes would also increment their grip on individual belief and comportment, subtly limiting one’s liberty to think and function. 

Would it be that social media is paving the approach for the cooperation of human cognitions or even consciousness? Wherefore, what would the consequences be for participants of such technology?

Socialization also programs how individuals see themselves in correlation to the community as an entire, and people obtain gratification and contentment in correspondence to their discerned place in society. 

Research says that social media touches our minds’ reward circuitry straight (www.NPR.org). Conjoined with how we are constantly on social media, it becomes inescapable that it has become the vital socialization energy for all involved. Therefore, individuals will acquire their fulfillment and merriment from their virtual identities and how they are recognized in the virtual world. 

The coalescence of the “actual” and the “virtual” means that an individual’s virtual identity will become identical to their “actual” identity.

We see many people who have a lot of friends/followers on social media, but when it comes to talking through their mouths instead of keypads, it becomes different. Are many social out there on social media social in the actual world? While it is essential to keep up some virtual social life, we often feel pressure to constantly have something to share or talk about when you are socializing and talking with others, more than you used to do face-to-face. Constantly trying to build up connections with others can burn us out. 

With the universality of social media and the persistent inundation of the communal responsiveness manifesting it via the digital screens we scroll through every day, the endangerment of over-socialization is often discussed and ignored. Can we openly consider ourselves individuals, free to think and behave, while nearly most of what we believe and do is from and eventually transmitted back to our smartphones? While we are spoon-fed information and opinions about the near and far world. We do not give it a thought to its relevance and relatability with us often. We comment, post, or spare hate in the peer pressure and need to satisfy the inner-need of not feeling left out. We scroll through endless debates in comment sections about topics that have no significance in our lives, fighting other battles by making them our own.

Each time we get involved in social media, we turn into spectacle, embracing the collective mind and agglomerating ourselves with the global community’s name social media. Do we upload our entire lives to social media as an acclamation to please our need for social acceptance? Have we been enslaved to the all-surrounding collective mind? 

One may think that it is for their peers out there, but it is also out there for the unwanted you are unaware; one of Netflix’s popular shows, “You,” gives us an idea of the dangers of putting all our life out there. If one thinks of privacy and safety before putting anything out in the virtual world, maybe many things can be avoided. Dangers exist for each selfie one takes, and each minute one sits wriggling, thinking about the next as an immediate substitute for social acceptance.

For some, the thoughts presented above might not seem adequately absorbing. Many of us will disprove social media’s hold on one’s subconscious thoughts and actions. How long can one be on their self-discovery without looking at someone they barely know life or posting something about one’s own life? 

We often get up immediately to check the amount of likes we get and get conscious of our peers’ followers. The thoughts or personal opinions you passionately post often, do one holds them indeed, or it can be found said by someone somewhere? Contrary to what you might think, you might be surprised just how much your virtual social life is then reality.

Today we are in a world where we don’t need bigger weapons to destroy someone; just words from our fingertips can do the job. We may not ignore social media; we should not look for sure as it’s essential if used rightly. Can we give little thought to ourselves? Can we look at the outer world once in a while? Can we try to adapt things from our conscious mind? Can we try to discover someone without them searching online? 

These thoughts may sound a lot, but if we think closely, our life is not in between the scrolling windows and tabs; it’s definitely beyond it. One just has to think of it once in a while. So, the question again comes to you over social in this social world? The answers lie inside you.

Mark Ziobro
Mark Ziobrohttps://uticaphoenixnet.wpcomstaging.com
Mark is the current Managing Editor for The Utica Phoenix, and a Central New York Native.
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